Nathan, the author of CommonSenseTX.com, emails:
My path has been a long, hard one for some time.
Next Friday, I have an appointment to apply for Social Security Disability benefits. One of those benefits is going to have to be medical coverage since I will no longer be covered by my mom’s health insurance when I turn 25 in January. My chronic pain condition requires three different medications just for me to be functional enough to do my part-time job at the Waco Trib. That includes about 40mgs of Vicodin a day, which I’m not about to go without. I’ve tried the “tough it out” road and I end up taking more than the lethal dose of Tylenol everyday to try and deal with the intolerable pain and liver function tests to make sure I wasn’t slowly committing suicide with acetamanophin poisoning.
I’m pretty sure I’ll get something since I make less than the people who deliver the papers that I work to put together 4 nights a week. If we had universal health care… but that’s another debate and another email altogether.
I’ve told some of you privately about plans for Common Sense. I might as well let you all know that political blogging has lost its allure. I don’t exactly blame any of you, but the Alliance has somewhere around 35 members. That’s more than enough plugged-in voices to cover politics in Texas; I just don’t feel I’m adding anything to the conversation.
But I can’t just stop blogging. I’ve been doing it for 3 1/2 years now, I might as well say I’m going to stop breathing. I just don’t want to write about politics anymore. It’s made me far more cynical than I already was and my voice is getting lost in the crowd.
So I, like all geniuses, simply came up with the “new thing,” and I call it Nateflix.
The general idea is to review movies that I rent from Netflix… plus of course, what other movies I watch and see fit to write about. I watch a lot of movies and I always have. And Movie Blog, my own personal movie reviews, have always been a feature of Common Sense. The way I see it, I get accolades almost daily from people telling me that I’m a great writer and it is high time I got paid to write, not just answer phones and type of little league linescores for a paycheck.
I also want to write about general entertainment news and gossip, maybe even TV and books. But the genesis behind the idea was that Netflix users are sort of a growing niche market that isn’t really being addressed by the traditional media. Your Friday paper will have a review of Evan Almighty and any new theatrical release and the Tuesday paper might have a few blurbs about new DVD releases, but who is writing reviews for classic movies or movies that went straight to DVD?
Plus, you have to admit, Nateflix… Netflix, it’s kind of an inspired name for a blog. And I definitely want to do a blog format to allow readers of said reviews to offer feedback and recommendations for new movies to review. And Netflix allows users to add each other as friends and make recommendations. This is just something that is bound to happen sooner or later. I rather it be sooner and I’d rather it be me earning a paycheck doing it.
My first choice was Slate.com. I just saw my editorial voice fitting in nicely with their regular content. But I got a polite email Monday rejecting me and my idea. So, I’m moving to my next, and probably last-ditch, choice: Time Magazine.
Time has made some strides in adding blogs to their Web site. They even have Ana Marie Cox writing for their Swampland blog. What they don’t have is something like Nateflix.com covering the burgeoning niche of Netflix users.
What I’m earnestly asking is if for help. Help finding who to badger into saying yes and how to contact them. If anyone knows anyone. If anyone still talks to Ana Marie after meeting her at that Texas Monthly reception 2 years ago. Anything to help at all. If you want to get your readers involved, go right ahead. I plan to write a post soon explaining why I probably won’t be writing Common Sense anymore.
Frankly, I own Nateflix.com the domain and I’ll do this all on my own if I have to. But, I’m seeking some kind of validation as a writer. Even if I don’t get paid anymore than I do now for writing this blog for Time, that’s fine with me. Where I’m at now, it feels pointless to continue down the current path and to do anything to get on this new path. It turns out that I would probably be better off just quitting my job and living entirely off government benefits. But that’s not who I am. I am a writer and it is high time I earned my way in the world by writing.
Plus, this is something that I can do from home and doesn’t involve stairs or Pearl Harbor survivors taking my handicap parking space. All these things make my existence much more difficult than it need be. And a decent paycheck plus SSI benefits might mean I actually, finally, after all this time move to Austin. After all it is the new movie Mecca.